Field Hockey’s Next Step: NESCAC Crown?
By Amro El-Adle '13, Managing Sports Editor
Still on the upswing from last year’s season, the women’s field hockey team “fully expects to make it back to the NCAA’s,” according to senior tri-captain Rachel Egan. After their most successful campaign since 2001 left them with a 12-5 record, and their first NCAA tournament win since 1999, the team will be looking to turn a few heads again this year.

Last year’s season opener, in which the Jeffs defeated then top-ranked Bowdoin College, proved a harbinger of their success as the team went on to defeat several top-ranked NESCAC rivals through hard-nosed defense (they were ranked third in the NESCAC in shutouts with six) and a potent offense. In a role reversal, the third-seeded Jeffs eventually lost to the sixth-seeded Polar Bears in the NESCAC Championship game. They later fell to Skidmore College in the second round of the NCAA’s on a game-winner that came in the waning moments of the second half.

The team defense paved the way for most of the wins last year, as the Jeffs allowed more than three goals in a game only once. Defender Tierney Healey ’10 was an integral part of that defense, leading the NESCAC in defensive saves with five. However, Head Coach Carol Knerr does not seem worried about her prospects for defense in this, her 10th season: “[the team has] a talented group of returning players as well as a great group of first-years who are hungry to build on the success of last season.” Among those vying to re-establish that defensive identity are Egan, juniors Sarah McCarrick and Stephanie Clegg, as well as sophomores Mary Katherine McNeil and Hillary Densen. Fellow sophomore Sarah Wise will be minding the net.

On offense, the second- and third-leading scorers from last year’s squad, in Molly Malloy and Hayley Douds, respectively, have been lost to graduation, but their loss should be off-set by the greater role that the first- and fourth-leading scorers from last year, Katie McMahon ’13 (who finished eighth in the NESCAC in scoring with 25 points) and Carly Dudzik ’12 (who finished with 15), can now assume. Both McMahon and Dudzik’s experience should translate into leadership on the turf, and along with senior tri-captains Carly Leahy and Liz Schink, they will look to head up what appears to be another promising roster. Joining them is a healthy helping of first-years Sarah Canning, Miranda Dershimer, Claudia Easton, Alex Philie and Krista Zsitvay.

The Jeffs will again meet the Polar Bears for their first game this year with an 11 a.m. start scheduled for September 11th on Gooding Field.

Issue 01, Submitted 2010-09-02 16:53:16